There used to be a bar. Out in Arlington, there used to be a bar. I started going there when I first moved to DC and my roommates and I would meet up there on a weekday night. After work, to drink away the reminders of having pissed the day away. To bitch about shitty jobs and make plans for the weekends. We went there so often, we used to be regulars. We’d recognize the bartenders, and most of the time they knew us. Not by name, but by face. I started going there with a lot of other friends after that. In the quiet of the weekdays and the bustle of the weekends. I was almost never home anymore. I needed to get out. To socialize. Almost every other night sometimes we were out there with a different array of friends. We would find time to go, sometimes only as a starting point for the night’s events. Go to get my broken driver’s license inspected by the door sitter. To sit on the worn couches and order a pitcher of James Brown Ale and bar food and sit around talking above the music. To muse a game of pool. Or the electronic jukebox. Or whatever silly thing was going on downstairs. Cheap b-movies. Or Elvis night. Or the zine fair. Something like that. Or, in the summers, we’d lounge in plastic chairs on the island-themed patio drinking out of plastic cups.
We used to go a lot. We used to spend a lot of time together, sacrificing a good night’s sleep before we had to get up early for work the next day. I’d come to work hungover sometimes, not caring. I couldn’t wait for the workday to end and for the promise of the next adventure to begin. Sometimes, for the period of rest in between to catch my breath. I never thought I’d say that I miss those days. Life got considerably harder when we all found better jobs. Started making better money. Started trading casual fits for real relationships. When we had to start being responsible. Not hanging out every night. Not seeing each other all the time. But, if we wanted it back… where could we all go now? What would be our nebulous? That bar that started us off is long gone now.